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Cartogram – Mapping the 2017 General Election

  • Written by  Benjamin Hennig
  • Published in Mapping
Cartogram – Mapping the 2017 General Election
13 Jun
Geographical’s resident data cartographer presents a true picture of the UK following the 2017 General Election

How much has the United Kingdom changed following the second general election within two years, and following the referendums on independence in Scotland in 2014 and the membership of the European Union in 2016? Each poll appeared to have had a significant impact on the political debate and the next vote which never seemed far away. As such, the 2017 general election looks like the culmination of the preceding ballots where all of the previous debates got a more or less prominent mention during the electoral campaign. Ultimately this led to some significant changes in the political landscapes of the country with each corner of the United Kingdom being affected by these dynamics.

Politicians, spin doctors and commentators quickly aim to interpret the outcome according to their views. In contrast, the following series of maps showing some key statistics and data from the election results aims to provide a more neutral as well as more comprehensive look at the underlying geographies. It shows different angles on key characteristics such as winners and runners-up in each constituency, changes in votes, vote shares of the two largest parties, turnout and changes in turnout between the last two general elections.

Different cartographic techniques are used to show how the electoral landscape in the UK is shaped not only by physical space, but also by political dimensions as well as from the perspective of people. The conventional (land area) map is therefore complemented by a hexagon cartogram where each parliamentary constituency is represented by a hexagon (some changes in constituencies over the past decades are reflected in split and merged hexagons), and by a gridded population cartogram where each area is resized according to the number of people living in that area.

Each map therefore provides a unique insight into the diverse spatial patterns of politics that emerged from the 2017 general election. To fully understand the new political landscapes of the United Kingdom, only a combination of different perspectives as shown here can help to gain a more complete picture. Geography matters not only in its physical dimension, but just as much in its social and political spaces that are depicted in these maps.

(Click each map for a higher resolution version...)

UKGE2017 Winning Party changes from 2015

Map series showing the winning party in each area

Map series showing the second placed party in each area

Map series showing the vote share of the Conservative party

Map series showing the vote share of the Labour party

Map series showing voter turnout

Map series showing changes in turnout between the 2015 and 2017 general elections

These maps were created as part of a contribution for the UK Election Analysis 2017 published by the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community in collaboration with Political Studies Association. The report including the full analysis that these maps were taken from is available online at www.electionanalysis.uk.

Benjamin Hennig (@geoviews) is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Iceland and Honorary Research Associate in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He is involved in the Worldmapper project and is author of www.viewsoftheworld.net.

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